Wednesday, February 10, 1999

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Kinyatta Cooper, 24, right, went on trial today charged with
second-degree assault and attempted second-degree assault.
He is accused of beating his daughter.

Navy man told of
beating child almost daily,
prosecutor says

By Debra Barayuga


A Navy man accused of assaulting his 3-year-old daughter told police he beat her "every other day" for about six months with his hand, a belt, shower brush handle or electric cord to discipline her.

Trial began today for Kinyatta Cooper, 24, charged with second-degree assault and attempted second-degree assault for his alleged role in beating his daughter, Tajhai. He faces five years in prison for each charge, plus a mandatory minimum of a year and eight months because the victim is under age 8.

The alleged beatings stopped on June 12, 1997, when Cooper took the child to Tripler Hospital, two days after she broke an arm, because he couldn't stand seeing her in pain any longer, said deputy prosecutor Lucianne Khalaf in opening statements today.

After initially telling police that Tajhai had hurt herself while playing and falling down six steps, Cooper finally admitted that he had picked her up in anger because she had soiled her pants. When he set her back down, she fell back and landed on her arm, which resulted in two fractures.

During the hospital visit, however, doctors discovered that almost her entire body, except for her palms and the soles of her feet, was covered with bruises and scars in various stages of healing.

Cooper is extremely remorseful over what occurred and didn't intend for his daughter to break her arm, said deputy public defender Todd Eddins. In a sense, it was good that it happened because it allowed the past abuse to be uncovered, he said.

Cooper's wife, Tammy, 21, faced a more serious charge of first-degree assault. She has pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and is awaiting sentencing.

The child allegedly named Tammy Cooper as the one who whipped her face with a folded extension cord, causing possibly permanent disfigurement.

Kinyatta Cooper was given custody of Tajhai after his former girlfriend, the mother, was found unfit.

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